About four years ago, Ferrisburgh dairy farmers Cheryl DeVos and her husband, J.D., began to think about bottling the milk from their herd of 200 Holsteins and Jerseys and selling it locally rather than to a national organic milk company, as they had done since 2005.
Little did they know how long and winding the road ahead would be, even with help from the Intervale Center’s Success on Farms program, a loan from the Vermont Economic Development Authority and money from local investors.
“We needed holding tanks for the milk, a delivery truck, a bulk tank truck, a pasteurizer, a separator, a homogenizer and an ice builder,” recalls Cheryl DeVos. “It was a big undertaking. I think if my husband and I had known then, we would have said, ‘No, we’re not doing that.’”
But she’s glad they persisted. Later this month, the DeVoses will begin bottling about one-quarter of their production, a volume they hope will grow and eventually include milk from other farmers. “Someone needs to do this. If we’re going to stay local, us farmers have to take things into our own hands,” says DeVos.
The creamery shares space inside the former Saputo Cheese plant in Hinesburg, now a 88,720-square-foot food hub whose tenants include Vermont Smoke and Cure. During an open house and ribbon cutting on May 19, visitors will have a chance to drop in.
Whole, 1 percent and skim milk will be sold under the Kimball Brook Farm label. The family will also sell a cream-top milk, half-and-half and, soon enough, butter. They plan to offer yogurt and cheese down the road.
Kimball Brook products will be available at City Market, Healthy Living Market, Sweet Clover Market, Shelburne Supermarket and Hunger Mountain Co-op, and Black River Produce will distribute beyond the immediate area. DeVos hopes eventually to crack the Boston market, guaranteeing Vermont milk mustaches all the way to the coast.